Think of it for a bit, SMS-texting was invented a quarter of a century ago, and this technology is still alive and prospers. According to statistics annual worldwide SMS exchange is steadily growing each year, and in 2015 it exceeded the 1,6 trillion mark. People sure do like texting. And they would certainly prefer to text for free. That’s how a story about a SMS-killer and nowadays the most popular Internet messenger began.
In 2009 Jan Koum invented WhatsApp. In 2016 it hit 1 billion users. Gratz.
True value of a chat app
Facebook knew what they were paying for when WhatsApp was bought in 2014 - an enormous contact network, a communication platform with millions of loyal users that can be used for company’s interests. To say the truth, WhatsApp doesn’t generate some crazy profit but the business itself costs 19 billion which is considered to be an unprecedented bargain. The true value of chatting apps resides not quite in the total cost of fee-based in-app games, stickers or whatsoever content, but in the amount of constant app users. Chat applications like WhatsApp made it a hit right away, tons of them differintiating by topic or region but with the same essence. And there is no surprise to it, anyone would want to become next WhatsApp.
WhatsApp today. Achievements unlocked so far:
- 1 billion users;
- 700 miilion active users daily;
- 1 million new users daily;
- 50 billion messages daily.
So how to create a chat application like WhatsApp? We know a trick or two.
Essential components of a chat application
So how to make a messaging app? First of all it should contain:
- Comfortable design. It’s simple to accomplish, because simplicity is in trend. Be simple, make a screen for dialogues and contacts plus a button to add someone new - perfect. Absence of bizarreries in the interface navigation is a huge advantage for everyone since it also means less troubles during development process. Therefore, it will substantially decrease the development time, hence eventual expenditures, hence the final cost of the app.
- Personalization and account settings: While changing background and notification style for specific dialog or group chat is a sweet add-on, an option to clear the data from the app’s memory is gravely vital. Especially for teenagers, if you know what I mean.
- Various data formats support. Messaging is far more than sending a mere text, it’s also exchanging music, photos, videos, documents etc. User wants to experience a comfort communication he is seeking for. And the messenger’s duty is to take care of their needs. Voice messages are must have!
- VoIP calls. One more must have option. I know we are talking about messenger app but a trend is a trend, obey the vogue. Group calls are important. End of discussion. Latest news: WhatsApp implemented a Call back and Voicemail options. Just saying.
- Video chats. Some messengers has it, some - not. It’s not a must but we cannot deny that it’s a notable tendency. And to get yourself a place in the sun you should consider every possibility.
- Geolocation. Vital feature for people who lack in sense of directions. With this smart option users can share their location and even navigate each other with help of the app.
- Data extraction. For security purposes messengers tend to avoid saving data on their servers, so the only vault with precious voice messages and eternal love confessions is a smartphone. It’d be sweet of you to afford users an opportunity to extract particular data to save it as a memory.
- Integration with additional services. Integration with all possible social networks and cloud services would be definitely a huge boon for your app’s audience. It allows to take all the necessary info with you and instantly share it with your friends or colleagues, if it’s a private business app. Or we could make integration with Instagram for your chat application so that a user could always see shortcuts of his contacts fresh photos. The whirlpool of the variousness of our ideas is endless, you’d like some of them for sure.
Increasing traction. WhatsApp style
A little guide for app like WhatsApp to hit the top of app marketplaces. They say "If you want to hide something put it in plain sight." Keys to success as a chat app are too obvious to notice. They are simplicity, availability and confidentiality. Jan Koum knew that to enter people’s hearts he needs to make WhatsApp the most available and comfortable app, and he found the golden mean.
Simplicity as a principle has already been partly mentioned. Now I want to turn attention to its other side - an absence of any kinds of advertisement. Admit, it’s a way of showing respect to your users. Jan Koum once said that he considers a smartphone a deeply personal device so purposely using it to push ads on user is totally unacceptable. No doubts, WhatsApp audience appreciates that.
Second valuable WhatsApp principle is confidentiality. Registering doesn’t inquire any user personal information but a phone number, password is randomly generated by a server (simplicity at work). As for message content it’s entirely removed from the server right after being delivered.
WhatsApp started out as an iOS app, in a month it appeared in the Google Play Market. With time they created versions for every existing mobile platform - Blackberry, Windows Phone, Nokia Symbian, Nokia S40. There is also a web-version and a version for OC Windows, though it’s only accessible after authorization via smartphone. So it’s no wonder the app quickly became viral. The only thing you can’t install WhatsApp on is probably a fridge, but I’m not sure.
You would ask “How has Jan Koum and his development team managed this enormous project?” It was a hard steady non-stopping work on perfecting WhatsApp. They had their own difficulties and solved them one by one, carefully developing and implementing their ideas making their very best.
Tech side aka developer’s headache
You don’t really want to know about it, do you? Well, if you insist here is a quick info: WhatsApp uses modified protocol Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP, also known as Jabber). While installing it creates an account on server s.whatsapp.net, using a number as a user’s name (Jabber ID: [phone number]@s.whatsapp.net). After that the app compares all the phone numbers from the device's address book with its central database users to automatically add contacts to the user's WhatsApp contact list.
Media files exchange is conducted through HTTP-server. The object appears to user as a link with a thumbnail.
Web-version is situated by the adress: https://web.whatsapp.com/. It can be used jointly with a smartphone and only accessible while the phone connected to the Internet.
WhatsApp messages are all encrypted with the Signal Protocol. End-to-end encryption is used for all users on each platform and for all types of data: text, photo,video and voice messaging. Company argues that data decryptment is only accessible to the recipient. It all was implemented with algorithms of ECDH on Curve25519, AES - 256, AES - GCM, HMAC - SHA256, HDKF. Two users can collate the keys of encipherement by QR code scanning or comparison of sixty-digit number, that will allow to eliminate types of “man-in-the-middle” attacks.
How to create chat application like WhatsApp? Simply contact Thunderrise Dev Team, and we will take it from there. We will supply you with your personal team that will consist of your personal Project Manager and 4-6 highly qualified developers that will maintain the development process in reasonable timeframes to provide you with the finest product.
How much time the development take depends on the scale of your project. Roughly the whole development process might take up to 1000 hours (on average 2-4 months). So the an app like WhatsApp cost will be varied starting $ 25000 up to $ 35000. The numbers were calculated approximately, but you can always contact us to specify the details.
Contact Thunderrise Dev Team and be sure we will make the conditions of our colaboration the most comfortable for you.